2023 is finally here and millions of people are aiming to stick to key resolutions with the hope of achieving self-improvement, including taking part in dry January.
After all, following the Christmas period and New Year celebrations, plenty of people are happy to give up the sauce for a while. Not only are the health benefits HUGE, you will also save a massive amount of money by avoiding 10-pint sessions down the pub.
In London, thats easily over £60!
But do you actually know what happens to your body once you stop drinking alcohol? To help you understand how beneficial it is to take part in dry january, here’s what you can expect from going cold turkey on booze.
- The effects of alcohol
- The risks of drinking alcohol
- The benefits of giving up alcohol
- Acute withdrawal
- Post acute withdrawal
- What happens in the body?
- 12-24 hours
- 1 week
- 1 month
- 1 year
- Life without alcohol
The effects of alcohol
Long-term or heavy drinking can cause serious changes to your body and your brain, including:
- Digestive problems
- Increased risk of cancer
- Heart and cardiovascular issues
- Increase risk of stroke
- Increased risk of depression and anxiety
- Increased risk of liver problems including cirrhosis
- Dementia and other degenerative disorders (also known as “wet brain”)
However, by quitting drinking, starting with dry January, you can reverse many of those symptoms and reestablish good health.
- The body’s ability to absorb vitamins and minerals increases
- Metabolism is restored, leading to fat loss
- Energy increases
- Reduced risk of cancer and decreased stress levels
- Lower blood pressure and reduced risk of stroke and heart attack
- Quicker immune response
- Reversal of alcohol-related liver damage
Once more, dry January is the perfect opportunity to begin the hear with a health kick, the reasons above should be enough on their own, regardless of what is coming below!
How long and how much alcohol you drank will have an effect on the timeline that you experience when you stop drinking.
The first challenge you will face when you stop drinking is acute withdrawal. The symptoms will start as soon as six hours after your last drink.
- Sweating and rise in body temperature
- Raised blood pressure and heart rate
- Shaking or tremors
Completely detoxing from alcohol can take up to two months, but once that is done, you will have made it through the most physically challenging part of withdrawal.
During post-acute withdrawal phase, you will likely begin to experience the psychological effects of not drinking.
Some of the symptoms of this phase include:
- Decrease in energy
- Emotions such as anger and aggression
- Increased anxiety and depression
- Insomnia or nightmares
- Decreased libido
This may also be the time where cravings for alcohol set in.
Each person’s experience with post-acute alcohol withdrawal is different – for some it may only last a few weeks, for some it may be up to a year.
Seeking help from an alcohol addiction rehab will help ease your transition into recovery and treat any underlying conditions you may have.
The following is a timeline of how your body is reacting to the absence of alcohol.
Again, not everyone experiences the same thing, this is a general timeline.
During the first day of not drinking, your blood sugar normalises, which is critical for fighting both heart and blood vessel disease, kidney failure, nerve damage, eye problems and heart disease.
You will be feeling the effects of withdrawal at this point, so drink plenty of water and stay away from refined sugars.
Try to eat healthy foods like fruit and vegetables.
48 HOURS AFTER QUITTING
In a short amount of time, your body will have made big steps to detoxifying and the biggest hurdle will be over; however, you may feel withdrawal symptoms.
You may feel tired, nauseated, and have a headache lingering.
Depending on the severity of your alcohol abuse, you make be shaky and dizzy.
Your blood pressure could also become more stable and your body temperature should have returned to normal.
72 HOURS AFTER QUITTING
Hopefully, the withdrawal symptoms will begin to ease and you will begin to feel much fresher and lighter as you go about your day.
But, if you were a heavy drinker or maintenance drinker (someone who drinks around the clock, never allowing the body to be free of alcohol), then you may feel worse and still have shaking and dizziness.
Alcohol can’t be absorbed by the human body, which means it passes straight through without being absorbed like most liquids. This means that a night of drinking, will result in no water being taken into the human system which is one of the reasons for a hangover to be caused.
However, after quitting, your body will become much more proficient in absorbing water as it will not have to process so much poison in the shape of booze.
You should start sleeping better – more deeply – which will increase your energy during the day and your skin will be looking better as hydration restores.
Conditions you may have had like dandruff, eczema, and rosacea will improve as your skin does.
After dry January is over, liver fat is reduced by about 15% at this point and that increases its ability to filter toxins out of the body.
You may notice a reduced amount of belly fat, and the most improvement in your skin happens around this time. Your energy level will continue to rise and you likely feel renewed physically.
If you haven’t already, you should be looking for emotional support from a 12-step group, addiction therapist, or other addiction professional. Most relapses occur within the first six months of sobriety. You don’t want that to happen to you.
After a year of not drinking alcohol begging with dry January, you’ll lose a significant amount of belly fat, as it contributes a significant amount towards weight gain.
More importantly, your risk of mouth, liver, and breast cancers is drastically reduced, and your liver is likely to be functioning normally again.
Furthermore, your teeth will be at less risk of being eroded by the acidic compounds of alcohol while your sense of taste will also improve.
Making the change to sobriety isn’t easy, even though the physical improvements are well worth it and you may need the help of alcohol addiction experts.
The path to long-lasting recovery is full of twists and turns. That’s why it’s a good idea to seek help and support to establish healthy coping skills and treat underlying issues.
You don’t want to lose the sobriety that you fought so hard for starting with dry January.
Remember: if you think you have a problem with alcohol, seeking professional help is the best way to tackle the issue.
Click here to get free advice from the NHS and access to resources which could help you make changes easier.
Dry January is a great way to get started on the road to recovery as millions of people subscribe to the pledge.